Recapping Kentucky's 68-66 victory over Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional finals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Saturday night:
With a spot in the Final Four at stake, Notre Dame and Kentucky played one for the ages. It may not have been Kentucky-Duke in 1992, but it was not far from it. The Irish were on the verge of ending perfection but the Cats showed tremendous mettle down the stretch. UK hit nine straight shots down the stretch but it was two Andrew Harrison foul shots with six seconds left that provided the final margin. UK's defense had two key stops late. Both teams seemed tight and shaky early as the lead went back-and-forth. Notre Dame's cutting offense gave the UK defense trouble. Meanwhile UK could not take advantage of its considerable height advantage and was out of sorts on offense. There were 13 lead changes in the first half, and a Trey Lyles tip-in made it 31-31 at the half. UK took a quick five-point lead to start the second half, then the Irish went on a 13-4 run and took over the momentum. UK seemed frustrated. The Irish could not stop Karl-Anthony Towns inside but UK had trouble stopping Notre Dame. An Aaron Harrison deep three-pointer put UK up 64-63 with 3:11 left. Jerian Grant stepped well behind the line to answer for the Irish and the dramatic finish was on. 38-0!
■ Towns (25 points) kept Kentucky in the game.
■ The Harrison twins struggled at times but, oh my, did they respond at crunch time.
■ You have to love this team's grit.
■ In the NCAA Tournament, the only goal is win and proceed. The Cats somehow managed to.
■ This was not UK's best defensive performance, but Willie Cauley-Stein and teammates made stops at the very end.
■ Kentucky struggled with backdoor cuts from the Irish offense.
■ The much-smaller Irish were the much better team in the paint for most of the game.